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Benny the Chef

Story for Recipe of the month:

Carnevale (Carnival) in Italy is probably the celebration that the kids like the most. It doesn't matter if you were good or naughty, you always get a delicious treat as gift! As you probably know, the Carnival celebrations and events normally take place for about three weeks and end with Matedi Grasso (the fat Tuesday, also know as Mardi Gras) and its colorful parties and parades. The last day of celebration is called "Martedì Grasso" because is the day before the Ash Wednesday (Mercoledi delle Ceneri) and it is the last allowed day to party and feast on all kind of fat and rich foods before the official start of Lent. For the occasion people, especcially kids, dress up in costumes and attend parades, private parties and public street revels. Carnival celebrations last for weeks All over Italy, sweets are particularly abundant in this period, especially fritters. There are different types of traditional Italian Carnival fritters, but the most famous are Frappe and Castagnole. Frappe are twisted like curled ribbons and they have different names that change from region to region; Castagnole are small round shape fritters that look like chestnuts and in certain traditional recipes are also made with chestnut flour. It's not Carnival without Frappe and Castagnole!

Recipe of the Month

Frappe and Castagnole 

Ingredients:  1 and ½ cup of flour "00"  3 Tbs of granulated sugar 2 large eggs  2 Tbs of unsalted butter (softened)  1 Tbs of fresh squeezed lemon juice  1 Tbs of white wine wine or grappa Vegetable oil for frying Powdered Sugar

Instructions: In a large mixing bowl combine the eggs, the butter and flour; then add the sugar and the lemon juice along with the spirit. Mix well. Work and knead the dough until it becomes smooth and consistent (add more flour if needed). Cover the dough and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least one hour. Divide the dough into 2 balls; one for the Frappe, the other one for the Castagnole. Roll the first ball of dough and make a very thin, flat sheet. Cut the sheet in strips, about 2 by 4 inches, by simply using a knife or a pastry wheel if you prefer. Make a little cut in the center of each strip lengthwise and open it up a bit, so that the dough can cook evenly and curl while frying. Now, work the second dough with your hands and make a bunch of small balls (about 1 inch of diameter). Pour the oil in a small pot or large frying pan and bring it to a medium-high temperature (about 350F). Drop a few Frappe and Castagnole at a time and fry until they start becoming golden brown. Remove the fritters and place them over paper towels to absorb the excess oil. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.

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